In a surprising turn of events, Aliya Piper, a dedicated wildlife rescuer, and carer in South Australia, received a call about injured birds right in her own neighborhood.
Although she often travels far distances to assist needy animals, this rescue mission was practically on her doorstep.
The concerned caller informed Piper about a distressed mother bird and her two babies perched on a fence encircled by larger birds. Suspecting the mother might be injured, Piper hurriedly made her way to the location.
However, when she arrived, she initially struggled to spot the birds amidst some peculiar timber attached to the fence. Unbeknownst to Piper, the elusive birds had perfected the art of blending in.
“[I] couldn’t see the birds, just some weird timber attached to the fence.”
As it turned out, the mama bird and her babies were tawny frogmouths, nocturnal creatures that typically seek out old, dead trees as their daytime roosting spots, where they can remain inconspicuous.
However, this mother had opted for the wooden fence, basking in the sunlight, which led to the mistaken assumption that something was amiss.
“They were probably just enjoying the sun and mistook the log fence for a tree.”
Piper cautiously approached the avian family, but they swiftly took flight to nearby perches, well out of her reach, demonstrating their ability to fly perfectly and indicating their overall good health.
Amused by the situation, Piper couldn’t help but laugh at the thought of flying wood.
“First time I’ve ever seen wood fly.”
Tawny frogmouth birds have a remarkable ability to camouflage themselves with their surroundings and protect themselves from predators. Their unique appearance and behavior aid in their camouflage.
They have mottled brown, gray, and black plumage resembling tree bark. This coloration helps them blend seamlessly with the tree branches and trunks they roost on during the day.
The intricate patterns on their feathers, including streaks and spots, further enhance their camouflage by breaking up their silhouette and making them harder to spot.
Tawny frogmouths also have a stocky body shape with a large, rounded head. This shape resembles a broken branch or stump, allowing them to appear like a natural part of the tree when perched.
These birds adopt a specific posture when resting, aligning their bodies along the branch and elongating their necks. This posture mimics a broken tree branch, making them even more inconspicuous.
Tawny frogmouths rely on their ability to stay perfectly still and remain motionless for extended periods. By avoiding unnecessary movement, they avoid attracting attention to themselves.
Although the call was a false alarm, Piper cherished the opportunity to witness the tawny frogmouths in action, showcasing their remarkable camouflage skills, even if they were slightly confused about where to employ them.